Thursday, June 6, 2013
Almond/Walnut & Blueberry Crumble Cream: The Ultimate in Comforting Desserts
There is a saying that "when life (or Whole Foods in this case) gives you a lot of blueberries you make a lot of blueberry recipes..." Or something like that. I have a lot of blueberries at my house. How can you pass up a one day sale on organic blueberries for $1.99 a pint or $22 for a case of 12 pints? You can't. Combine that with store credit for one of my healthy tour/cooking demo gigs and they were free--even better. So two full cases came home with me. Besides eating them in all of their natural glory, I have frozen some, juiced some, dried some, put them in smoothies, eaten them in salads and with yogurt. I made blueberry-chia seed jam, I am making a blueberry gazpacho for Souper Sundays, and, when I saw a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe for a Walnut & Fruit Crumble Cream, I knew I would make it with blueberries.
Besides switching out the fruit, I made a few changes noted in red below.
Almond/Walnut & Blueberry Crumble Cream
Adapted From Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
1 lb fresh organic blueberries
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp agave syrup
Note: The recipe lists two fruit compotes fig and a guava/plum combination with the lemon and sugar adjusted to taste and to accommodate the sweetness of the fruit. (Use about 1 lb of fruit in total) I used the above measurements for my fresh blueberries, adding more lemon juice and zest for tang.
1/3 cup / 40 g whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup / 40 g all-purpose flour
3 1/2 Tbsp / 50g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 3/4-inch / 2cm cubes
3/12 Tbsp / 50 g light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup /100 g walnuts, coarsely broken (I used 1/2 cup walnuts & 1/2 cup sliced almonds)
2/3 cup / 150 ml heavy cream
6 1/2 Tbsp / 100 g Greek yogurt
6 1/2 Tbsp / 100 g mascarpone cheese
1 Tbsp super-fine sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 star anise, ground (I used Chinese Five-Spice)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degrees C.
Start with fruit and mix ingredients together in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low for 15-20 minutes, until the fruits are completely soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool down.
For crumble, place flours in a large mixing bowl with butter, sugar, and salt. Use your fingers to rub the mixture into a coarse bread crumb texture, then stir in the nuts. Spread on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in oven for 15-20 minutes, until dry and cooked through. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
For the cream: place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to soft peaks, taking care not to overwhip (it is quite thick to begin with, show it shouldn't take more than 30 seconds or so).
To assemble, spoon 1/3 of the crumble into four medium glasses or glass bowls. Cover this with about 2/3 of the fruit, then 2/3 of the cream. Add another 1/3 of the crumble, them the remaining fruit, and the remaining cream. Serve at once or chill for a few hours before serving. Scatter the remaining crumble on top just before serving.
Notes/Results: I LOVE this dessert! It's like a combination of a fool and a crumble--the ultimate in comforting desserts. It's not overly sweet, which I like. The crumble which tastes of cookies, is probably the sweetest part of the dessert. There is always one component of an Ottolenghi multi-part dish that I especially fall in love with. In this case it is the spiced cream. It's a thick pillowy cloud of deliciousness--I am not sure whether I most want to eat it or float away on it. ;-) The combining of the cream with the mascarpone and the Greek yogurt makes it luscious and the little hit of spices adds complexity and flavor. Here's the thing. Ottolenghi calls for ground star anise and cardamom in the cream recipe. I had a choice--locate and dig the star anise out of the freezer, get the step stool from the spare bedroom and take it to the kitchen, climb to reach the upper shelf, find the spice grinder in the back of the cupboard, and then go to the work of grinding the star anise OR, open the spice cupboard and pull out the Chinese Five-Spice (which has ground star anise along with fennel, cinnamon, cloves and white pepper). Guess which one I chose? Right! I think it worked beautifully--it is subtle and mixed with the cardamom, it just highlights the sweet/tangy flavor of the berries without overpowering. I'm lazy--I'd do it again. ;-) This would be great with most any fruit or fruit mixture. (I want to try Ottolenghi's guava-plum combination.) I will make this again.
Our I Heart Cooking Clubs theme this week is Something Sweet. You can check out the desserts, sweet treats and recipes with sweet ingredients that everyone made by following the links on the post.